Public Hearing for July 11, 2011
Staff has incorporated changes to the document based upon discussions during the last public hearing with the Planning and Zoning Commission and suggestions from Councilman Becker. The major changes included are best practices from the industry and separating the regulations for drilling, production, and pipelines into three separate documents.
Each change is denoted within the text (see Proposed Regulations section below). It is likely that the commission will make additional changes for its recommendation to council. After more than six months of meetings, research, and consultations, staff will be requesting that the commission take action on the proposed amendments with its changes, as needed.
History for this matter includes:
- April 14, 1966 - Council adopts regulations for pipelines and oil and gas wells.
- October 27, 1977 - Council amends fees for oil and gas well permits.
- October 28, 1978 - Council amends fees for pipeline permits.
- January 24, 1980 - Council amends fees for pipeline permits.
- February 28, 1980 - Council amends regulations for relocation of pipelines.
- October 24, 1985 - Council amends fees for oil and gas well permits.
- January 11, 2011 - Council approves a 6-month temporary suspension on permits relative to oil and gas well drilling.
- February 7, 2011 - First joint public hearing on proposed amendments to oil and gas regulations is held with Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission (P and Z).
- February 15, 2011 - Second joint public hearing on proposed amendments to oil and gas regulations is held with Council and P and Z. At the close of the public hearing, Council directed staff to:
- Conduct additional research on a 600-foot vs. a 1,000-foot drilling setback
- Clarify approval levels for pipelines and associated above-ground equipment
- Incorporate separate schedule for fees and performance surety
- Submit the proposed regulations for review and comment to technical and legal advisors in the oil and gas industry
- June 16, 2011 – Third joint public hearing on proposed amendments to oil and gas regulations is held with Council and P and Z. At the close of the public hearing, Council instructed that the regulations go to the Commission for consideration at a later date.
- June 20, 2011 – Fourth public hearing on proposed amendments to oil and gas regulations is held with P&Z. Setbacks were the highlight of the discussion. Some of the Commissioners discussed the desire for 750-foot setbacks from protected uses and 500 feet from water wells. There was no vote taken.
- June 28, 2011 - City Council approves a 45-day extension to the 6-month temporary suspension on permits relative to oil and gas well drilling.
Staff has researched over 40 cities in Texas to find their setbacks for drilling, storage/battery tanks, and pipelines. That data is included in the following list. In terms of setbacks for pipelines, staff only found two cities that had setback requirements for new pipelines from protected uses such as residencies and schools. These two cities are in our area, Texas City (25 feet) and Friendswood (50 feet).